News / Health

Facebook Project Facilitates Kidney Donations

Damon Brown sits with his wife, Bethany, as they hold their sons Theo, 3, left, and Julian, 5, at their home in Seattle. Damon Brown found a kidney on Facebook after telling his story on a special page the Seattle dad created under the name, “Damon Kidney
Damon Brown sits with his wife, Bethany, as they hold their sons Theo, 3, left, and Julian, 5, at their home in Seattle. Damon Brown found a kidney on Facebook after telling his story on a special page the Seattle dad created under the name, “Damon Kidney
Jessica Berman
On May 1, the social networking site Facebook launched a project to put people willing to donate a kidney in touch with those in need of a kidney transplant. Members who want to donate a kidney were urged to post a status update indicating that. Many experts say the move could increase the supply of donated kidneys, but they point to ethical and medical concerns.

In the United States alone, there are an estimated 114,000 people waiting for an organ transplant. The vast majority are seeking a kidney, either from a live donor - since we each have two kidneys - or someone who had agreed to donate their organs after death. Every day, 18 people in the U.S. die, waiting for a kidney to become available.  

So, Facebook has begun encouraging its U.S. members who want to donate a kidney to declare their desire to do so on their page.  With the number of Facebook members approaching one billion worldwide, some transplant specialists are excited that the initiative could dramatically increase the supply of live donor kidneys.  

In an interview on Skype, David Fleming of Donate Life America, a Richmond, Virginia-based organization dedicated to encouraging people to donate their organs for transplant, said declaring a decision to become an organ donor on Facebook is an opportunity to save a life.

"I think it's rare in our lives here on this Earth that we have an opportunity to do something, that is going to impact, save or heal someone's life or restore sight," Fleming noted. "And what an incredible way to leave this world is to be able to offer someone else a chance at a second life, to be able to have children or get married or see their children graduate from high school or college.  It's just an incredible, selfless act of kindness."

People have used Facebook to appeal for kidneys long before the website launched its live kidney donation drive. Last October, researchers at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, decided to examine some 90 Facebook pages to see who sought kidneys and what sorts of responses they got. The pages surveyed included members between the ages of two and 69.

Lead researcher Alex Chang, a kidney specialist, found that 12 percent of the members reported receiving a kidney, while 30 percent indicated that a number of members volunteered to be tested to see whether they would be a match. On one page, seeking a kidney for a young child, 600 potential donors stepped forward.

While many Facebook members offering a kidney are well-intentioned and honest, Chang says there could be dangers in dealing with strangers on the social networking site.  

For one thing, people in search of organs often reveal very private medical information.  Chang says researchers also found a number of questionable offers from Facebook members, particularly in developing countries.

"You know some of them sounded pretty genuine," noted Chang. "Like they would say, 'I'm trying to complete college and I need X amount of money.  And I've thought about it thoroughly and all the risks of donating a kidney, and I really want to sell my kidney to you.'  And you know it's not legal, it's definitely not legal (to sell organs) in the U.S."

The sale of kidneys from living donors has been banned since 1984, when Congress passed the National Organ Transplant Act. Nevertheless, Chang says some potential donors were asking for an average of $30 - $40,000 for a kidney.

Loyola University's Alex Chang presented his findings at a recent meeting of the National Kidney Foundation. As for the social network campaign, Facebook announced that as of mid-May, more than 100,000 of its users had signed up to be live kidney donors.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: KatPet from: USA
June 04, 2012 1:30 PM
What a wonderful, heartwarming story!
PS. Get Paid Daily! Onepennybillionaire.com/kathipeters


by: David J Undis from: Nashville TN
June 01, 2012 12:32 PM
Your story about Facebook and Organ Donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.

There are now over 11,000 people on the National Transplant Waiting List, with over 50% of these people dying before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year. There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage – give donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die. Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. Everyone who is willing to receive should be willing to give.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers.
1-888-ORGAN88.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid